Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to uphold so-called “affirmative action” admissions policies at the University of Texas. Those policies had been challenged by a young white woman who believed that she was denied admission to the school while other “lesser” African-American and Hispanic students were admitted.
The Supreme Court decision is important, because it keeps in place institutional safeguards against the kinds of racism and bigotry that have been used to oppress Black Americans and other people of color for centuries. But we mustn’t cheer too ardently, at least not yet.
One Supreme Court decision does not cure 400 years of racism, and in fact, immediately after the decision, it was clear that some in our society still don’t get it.
Harold Levy, the executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, said in an article in the Atlantic after the ruling that he was pleased with the outcome. But he then went on to say, “I don’t think anyone can take great comfort that race-conscious affirmative action is here to stay.”
Levy is far from the only one who is weary of race-conscious policies, practices and decisions. Pundits, politicians and public figures wonder aloud why “we” always have to “make everything about race.”
The fact is, even in 2016 – when the President and his wife and children are Black – everything still is about race. We don’t “make” it that way. It’s just the way it is.
The war on drugs has been waged primarily in communities of color, where people of color are more likely to be charged with more serious offenses and ordered to serve longer sentences.
Students of color face harsher punishments in school than their white peers.
While people of color make up about 30 percent of the United States’ population, they account for 60 percent of those imprisoned.
42 percent of Black children are educated in all high-poverty schools (both elementary and secondary), while only 6 percent of White children are educated in high-poverty schools.
Many people of color living in circumstances stressed by poverty lack access to healthy foods.